Mar 13, 2022: According to a report by AFP, Britain on Sunday defended lobbying Saudi Arabia to up its oil output as energy sanctions on Russia start inflicting a painful toll.
This follows just a day after the Gulf kingdom executed a record number of prisoners in a single day.
A report by The Times which was not denied by senior cabinet minister Michael Gove said PM Johnson will lobby Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help offset the impact of the Ukraine-linked sanctions, after Britain and the United States said they were ending imports of Russian oil.
“We have to rely on oil from a number of countries, many of whose human rights records we don’t approve of,” Gove told Sky News, after Saudi Arabia said it had executed a record 81 people in one day.
“Saudi Arabia is a security partner of the United Kingdom. I think that there are human rights concerns. We’re clear about those,” he said.
As a result of sanctions on Russia, petrol and diesel prices in the UK have reached record highs, adding to the crisis of living as domestic heating bills are also rocketing. Johnson said Thursday that Britain and its allies were moving away from Russia’s dependence on oil and gas, so that they would no longer be “blackmailed” by President Vladimir Putin.
The White House was forced to reject a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had refused to accept calls from U.S President Joe Biden. The Times said Johnson was given a better place to lobby Muhammad bin Salman, who kept in touch with the Saudi ruler via WhatsApp messages.
Rights group Amnesty International said Johnson, if he does go, should challenge the crown prince over the mass executions and a 10-year travel ban slapped on blogging rights activist Raif Badawi.
Russia is the world’s largest producer of gas and second-largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia.
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